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Act I

[Escena 5]

[Scene 5]

Enter Ocaña, dressed as a footman, with a piece of quince and some horse-blinkers in his hands. He pays attention to what his master is saying

Don Antonio Love, who gently, and powerfully,
makes possible the impossible,
levelling mountain tops,495
why do you not remove the clouds from my sun?
Why do you not reveal,
as in some Orient,
the two beautiful peaks
that give rays to the sun,500
and light to those eyes,
for which the world gives up its spoils?
What do you want, Ocaña?

Ocaña I want to shoe the bay, sir.
The blacksmith cannot shoe her505
if there is no money.
She is due four shoes and some castor oil.
See if those hooves will trot
if you are so hard-hearted!
And I have come for six rations510
that are due to me.
It makes me cross to see
that there is enough for Cristina
and more than enough for Quiñones,
and there is a shortage for me,515
who serves better than any of them,
whatever way you look at it.

Don Antonio I confess you are right, my dear Ocaña.
Everything will be paid to you.
May God go with you.520

Ocaña Your grace is always very hard on me.

Don Antonio In what way?

Ocaña Is it not the case that,
scarcely have I entered the room
on some trifling errand,525
when, as if were a dumb and
thick-lipped slave from Guinea,
someone bids me farewell,
or tells me to go to hell.
The pure and lucid intelligence530
that shines in this footman
is clear to no one, however hard I try.
Ill-discerning fortune goes the other way with me.
If you had been a poet
perhaps I would have been a marquis,535
or, at least your favourite and advisor.
But I do not expect a good measure
from my miserly fate.
There are poets so divine, of such singular power,
that they can bestow titles like Count Palatines.540
If they were to bide their time
and await the right moment
all footmen would marry in palaces,
with the Queen’s singularly worthy maidens.
Such grace reigns in them by the grace of Apollo. 13 545
But I, no doubt, was born for the stables,
my happiness destroyed by immutable fortune.
The wise man is a concord engendered by skill,
the fool a dissonant disparity.
The soul works through the body’s senses,550
and the body’s perfection or decrepitude
demonstrates what these senses are.
From this I wish to infer
that I have such a sensitive body
that in a flash I foresee555
what I have to say and do.
I am a footman, by the grace of God,
but a clever footman, and, in short,
if fate allows this benefit,
up until now withheld,560
I promise I’ll suffice as a marquis,
like that one in Marignano,
with dinare, e più dinare

Don Antonio Stop!
You have spoken in a way565
that obliges me to raise you
from your humble station
to a more eminent one.
The first rung on the ladder
is to serve as my advisor,570
and so, my friend Ocaña,
I want to reveal my heart to you,
so that, once you have clearly seen
the anxieties nestling within it,
your ingenuity might suggest575
appropriate remedies.
Perhaps the assured experience
of your wise old head
might heal an almost incurable pain.

Ocaña Tell me your problem sir,580
and you will see how, in a jiffy,
I can apply a host of remedies,
the least of which will cure you.
And if perchance it’s Cupid who torments you,
rest assured you are cured already,585
because the blind boy shouldn’t tangle with me.

Don Antonio I fear you are not yourself.

Ocaña Well who was I supposed to be?
If had not drunk any wine,
out of habit or to console myself,590
I would have given you
the most sober advice in all Madrid.

Don Antonio You are talking nonsense.
Go back to your stables, Ocaña.

Exit Don Antonio

Ocaña Though I might speak more maxims,595
and indulge in lofty flights of fancy,
it is plain as day to me,
when all is said and done,
that the stables have to be my tomb.
In truth he who challenges fate600
is kicking against the pricks.
Little Cristina will be in the square now.
I am driven there by that familiar force
that dwells within my soul.
I seek her like my centre,605
and if it were my luck to meet her,
I’d feel like I’d been dealt
a winning hand at cards.
Let not mistress Love,
to whom I appeal for help,610
deprive me of this pleasure,
and, as far as the master’s concerned,
let things not get any worse!

Exit Ocaña

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